There is nothing that a woman can’t do and proving these words is Shanti Devi, a truck mechanic in Delhi. Being the only female truck mechanic in Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar, she has gained quite a lot of popularity in the last few days. And the credit is all hers — and why shouldn’t it be? After all, she can boast of being powerful enough to move and repair tyres weighing 60-80 kilos and fix punctures for at least 15 trucks a day!
“After moving to Delhi from Madhya Pradesh in 1974, my husband and I were looking for a job and set up a tea stall together. After a few years, we managed to open a garage in Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar and it’s there that I learnt mechanical work. Living in this area taught me whatever I know today,” says the 60-year-old, pulling out a tyre-tube that weighs almost as much as her.
Shanti, who’s been working in the colony for the last 20 years, is well known for her efficiency just as much as her skills. “I believe women are no less than a man in any field,” she says, giving examples of the Indian women’s hockey team that has recently won the Asian Championship against China.
And although people usually laud her for her choice, her relatives ridicule her. Needless to say, she doesn’t care.
“My relatives asked me to leave this work because according to them, it’s a man’s job and women are not supposed to repair trucks and automotive vehicles,” she says, adding, “Sometimes, even passers-by look uncomfortable with a woman working in a man’s world. People often stare at me when I repair tyres, but I don’t care. I know I’m doing my job and don’t feel the need to respond to my relatives or get affected by onlookers.”
And the person whom she credits for this bad-ass attitude is her husband, Ram Bahadur. “He’s always supported me without caring about what others might say. With his help and my experience, I have learnt about almost each and every part of the truck and the technique to repair it.”